University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English Speaking world.  Although the exact date of foundation remains unclear, there is evidence of teaching there as far back as the 11th century. Oxford is consistently ranked among the world’s top 10 Universities with its unmatched standard of education. Oxford is a member of the Russell Group of research-led British Universities, the Coimbra Group, the G5, the League of European Research Universities, International Alliance of Research Universities and is also a core member of the organization of ten European Universities.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological research. The University was founded in 1861. MIT employs about 1,009 faculty members. 76 Nobel Laureates, 50 National Medal of Science recipients and 35 McArthur are affiliated with the university.

University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second oldest university in both England and the English-speaking world and the seventh-oldest globally. The university grew out of an association of scholars in 1209. Academically Cambridge ranks as one of the top universities in the world: it is ranked first in the world in the 2010 QS World University Rankings and fifth in the world (and first in Europe) in the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities. Graduates of the University have won a total of 61 Nobel Prizes, the most by any university. Affiliates of the University have won a total of 88 Nobel Prizes.  Academic staff of the University won a total of 52 Nobel Prizes, second most of any academic institution (after Columbia University).

Stanford University is a private research university with a strong emphasis on scientific, technological and social science research. The University was founded in 1891. More than 50 Stanford faculty, staff and alumni have won the Nobel Prize. Stanford also has the distinction of having the largest number of Turing Award winners for a single institution. Stanford faculty and alumni have founded many prominent technology companies, including Cisco Systems, Electronic Arts, Google, Hewlett-Packard, LinkedIn, Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

Yale University is a private Ivy League University located in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States. Incorporated as the Collegiate School, the institution traces its roots to 17th-century clergymen who sought to establish a college to train clergy and political leaders for the colony. In 1718, the College was renamed Yale College. Yale employs over 1,100 faculty members to teach and advise around 5,300 undergraduate and 6,100 graduate and professional students. 49 Nobel Laureates have been affiliated with the University as students, faculty, or staff. Yale has produced many notable alumni, including five US Presidents, 19 US Supreme Court Justices and several foreign heads of state.

While the west made sound seats of learning, rulers on this part of the world we were busy creating useless architectures. The Taj Mahal “crown of buildings” is a mausoleum located in Agra, India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is widely considered as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of “eternal love”. The construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653, employing thousands of artisans and craftsmen.

The Lahore Fort, locally referred to as Shahi Qila, is located in the city of Lahore. The trapezoidal composition is spread over 20 hectares. Origins of the fort go as far back as antiquity; however, the existing base structure was built during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar and was regularly upgraded by subsequent rulers. Some of the sites inside the fort include Sheesh Mahal, Alamgiri Gate and Naulakha Pavilion.

Tomb of Jahangir is the mausoleum built for the Mughal Emperor Jahangir who ruled from 1605 to 1627. The mausoleum is located near the town of Shahdara Bagh in Lahore. His son Shah Jahan built the mausoleum 10 years after his father’s death.

And finally the Empress Noor Jahan lies buried in a tomb not far from that of her husband, Emperor Jahangir. Nur Jehan died in 1645 at age 68, and is buried at Shahdara Bagh in Lahore Pakistan, in a tomb; she had built herself, near the tomb of Jahangir.

Fast forward. Our Government made the Jinnah Convention Center with millions of tax payers’ money while the country was suffering extreme financial crunch. There was no need for building this center for the same objectives could have been achieved by utilizing the existing infrastructures.  This was followed by the construction of Chaghi Monument (Nuclear Meltdown Monument) at Faizabad and the Missile Chowk in Islamabad. Then we went on to construct the Pakistan Monument in Islamabad as a National Monument representing the nation’s four provinces and three territories. The blooming flower shape of the monument represents Pakistan’s “progress” as a rapidly developing country. The Monument has been supposedly designed to reflect the culture and civilization of the country. And finally the last nail in the coffin is the project to construct Benazir Bhutto Monument at the estimated cost of Rs 1 Billion in Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi, at the site of her assassination.

Things haven’t changed for us over the years, nor has our mindset. Useless Architectures will lead us towards darkness, the lesson we fail to understand. Let’s, for a change, pass on educational infrastructures to our future generations, not these cosmetic worthless monuments of shame. 

The writer is a PhD in Information Technology, alumni of King’s College London and a social activist. He has authored two books titled Understanding Telecommunications and Living in the Grave and several research papers. The writer prefers to avoid human interaction and finds peace & happiness being alone, in silence with his own self.